I’m in my traveling music teacher zone and sometimes I just have to sit back and wonder: “What did I do to deserve this?” Arrived in Barcelona after my three-movie plane ride over the Atlantic (Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty holds up!), a nap and off to Plaza España to meet up with my friends—Oriol from Barcelona, Estevao from Brazil, Ezo from Turkey and Curt from my New Jersey high school days. And then a quick What’s Ap with Elisa in Finland to bring yet more around the table.
Warm balmy Spring weather, a perfect zucchini soup and mushroom risotto with a clara beer in a restaurant in La Arena. This is a beautiful building that used to be for bullfights and then Barcelona prohibited them and did the extraordinary thing of raising it up a couple of stories off the ground and then filled it with shopping mall stores. From bloody bullfights to sterile consumerism. Progress? A step backwards? From six of one to half dozen of the other? Who knows? But a pleasure to be back in a vibrant city with history, character and a buzz in the air.
I mostly travel for the work itself and the little shots of tourism an added bonus. But these days, one of the great delights is knowing people just about everywhere I go. Dynamic, fun, intelligent, artistic and good-looking people who I love to be with in any kind of social setting. This reaches far beyond what I ever dreamed might happen when I began this traveling life.
It also feels like there have been a lot of loops circling around lately. A few weeks ago, Don, a classmate from junior high in Roselle, New Jersey who I hadn’t seen in 52 years came to my workshop. When visiting my grandkids in February, I got together with Glenn, a college acquaintance I hadn’t seen for some 45 years who also weirdly may overlap with me here in Barcelona. Curt who joined us yesterday was a high school friend I got back in touch with some five years ago. Each one a delightful person to get to re-know in our present incarnation of self. What’s going on here?
Barcelona itself has a place in my personal history, the first place in Spain I ever came to as a free and footloose traveling college student back in 1973. I was on a two-week break from a life-changing tour with the Antioch College Chorus singing Renaissance music in France and Italy. Came to Barcelona and then on to Formentera with two fellow tenors and a soprano and on the train, added another traveler named Janice to our entourage. I remember flirting with Janice and secretly wishing for a “Before Sunrise” short adventure. (Didn’t happen.) I particularly remember shopping at the market in Las Ramblas and ascending to the top of the small mountain Tibidabo for a picnic of fresh bread, cheese, figs, wine and such, young folks having their virgin European taste of culture, our lives spread out before us like the city itself below us, beckoning, enticing, filled with possibility and wholly savored in this moment of time.
Given all the looping going on, perhaps Janice will show up at my workshop tomorrow.